Ben's Week In Review: March 23
More big games were in the news this past week, so let's not waste any time with trivial pleasantries. :)
Just when you thought there was no hope...
No matter what happens, this rumor will probably endure until the end of time. It was dealt a huge blow last year when, despite all possible evidence that it would happen, Square-Enix never announced a Final Fantasy VII remake for the PlayStation 3. However, thanks to a recent interview, the rumor has risen from the ashes like the phoenix in resplendent glory! I thought we had already seen every "FFVII Compilation" title, especially because the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy ended last year. But obviously, they've got another game up their sleeve, and it falls into the FFVII universe...so what could it possibly be? Well, let me say this: if it's yet another handheld title, I'm going to have a flippin' meltdown. I don't wish to offend any handheld fans out there, but I'm just so sick of these sequels, remakes and other promising titles only arriving on the PSP and DS, like Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. I understand the reason behind it, of course (old-school formulas probably won't fly on next-gen consoles), but still, it's annoying.
So whatever it is, Square-Enix, this had better not be yet another portable game celebrating 20 years of Final Fantasy. You're still one of my favorite developers out there, but I refuse to lay all my hopes at the feet of The Last Remnant. I know Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII Versus are in the works, but they're a long ways off, and I want another reason to be excited. I want a Final Fantasy VII remake for the PS3!!! Can't make it any plainer than that.
EA's not the harbinger of doom, folks
So we've heard about the possibility of EA publishing Grand Theft Auto IV (which I still don't think will happen), and I've noticed that people are adopting this very negative knee-jerk reaction when it comes to the biggest game publisher on earth. Currently, the hip thing to do is to slam EA if you see or hear the name. Now, I will certainly agree that EA-developed titles have experienced an unfortunate decline in quality over the past few years, but publishing and developing are two very different things, fellow gamers. Just because EA publishes a GTA game - and they're gonna in the future - does not mean they'll simply toss away Rockstar and make the game themselves. In fact, there's very little chance that will happen. Simply putting your name on the box only means you're handling the marketing campaign, PR, and maybe a few of the cosmetic aspects of the game's creation. But there's a very good reason why there are often two different company names for "developer" and "publisher."
What I'm trying to say is this- it's ridiculous to assume that GTAIV will suddenly suck if EA publishes it. The game is basically already complete; EA will do nothing but make a lot of money from licensing rights. It's also not logical to assume future GTA titles will be mediocre, because that would require EA opting to develop those games on their own. And even then, is it really fair to believe EA couldn't do it...? Well, maybe. I wouldn't want EA to develop any GTA, either. But I really don't have any problem with them publishing games.
Personal gaming update
I've moved onto the fourth and final disc in Lost Odyssey, so I figure I don't have much further to go. I'd like to go through and do every side-quest I can find (I love doing that with my RPGs), but I simply don't have the time. I'll do a few of the more significant ones, but then I'll just want to move forward and complete it. Besides, we've got Dark Sector this week, and Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds is still begging to get unwrapped. I've sworn that I won't open it until Lost Odyssey is complete, because if I open HSG now, I know what's going to happen: I'll open it "just to see," pick a character and a course, and play a "quick round." Then, three hours later, I'll still be playing. The next day, I won't want to play anything else. I speak from experience; this has happened to me with every single HSG installment since HSG2 way back on the PS1. Therefore, I refuse to give in to temptation. Both Lost Odyssey and Dark Sector will be complete before I crack open Out of Bounds. This, I vow.
I'll have some time, anyway. The next game I really must have is Grand Theft Auto IV, and that's still five weeks away. And after that, the only other one I really need is MGS4 in June. Of course, Gran Turismo 5: Prologue has to be squeezed in there next month, but as awesome as it will be, it's still only a demo. I'll play it and love it, but I don't need to spend 100 hours with it.
3/22/2008 Ben Dutka